Yesterday Sport was home with the stomach flu, and I was a little disappointed. Not because he soiled his sheets, moaned for attention, or asked for specialty foods, but because he didn’t.
For years, my kids have used my jeans like tissue. Without a second thought, I’ll hold out my hand so my kids can spit out gum, snuck candy, or plain too much food. And in public places I’ve even cupped my hands as an emergency vomit bowel. Bodily fluid has become my specialty.
Motherhood is not glamorous, people.
Those of you with kids are familiar with the Public Vomit. You’re at a formal gathering (it always is, right?) with a child who has been incubating an illness for about 12 hours, although you, as of yet, have no idea. And then, at the most inopportune time, the percolating child blows. And by blows, I mean chunks—and by chunks, I mean all over the place. (And if you’re unlucky, like the Belknap family, some poor, unsuspecting and immaculately-dressed older women had been trying to entertain aforementioned urpy child.)
As Mother, you step in and begin the cleanup, using everything from the Taco Bell napkins you’ve been stashing in your purse to your new leather jacket. In fact, you may even use your own shirt to wipe any residue from your child’s pale little face.
After years of such sickly episodes, you would think I’d be more than ready to graduate my oldest son from the human vomit bowl to the toilet bowl. Call me crazy, but I’m not.
Yesterday, Sport was a grown-up sick kid. He drank his 7Up and ate his soda crackers without complaint, even when it made him throw up thirty minutes later. And throughout all his disoriented nausea, not once did he miss the toilet. He didn’t cling, he didn’t whine, he didn’t use my shirt to wipe his face. What’s a mother good for if not all those things?
So I’ve begun to sing the enjoy-them-while-they’re-young anthem of motherhood. No more diaper bags, no more ear infections, no more public vomits. But while I may no longer be the human vomit bowel, I’m still the homework nag. That counts for something.
And the sibling rivalry referee. They still need one of those, right?